Memberships Since 1995
(buy, sell rent, rebates)

Eat Dirt: It's Not Evil Anymore

Published: October 20, 2012

In North America, we obsess about hand sanitizer and scrub our fruits and vegetables until every vestige of mud in an effort to protect ourselves from bacteria we believe will make us ill. Well, as it turns out, our preoccupation with cleanliness may actually be making us sick.

VegetablesA five-year study called the Human Microbiome Project found that 100 trillion good bacteria live in our bodies, bacteria that help keep us healthy.
The project, involving 200 scientists and 80 institutions, also discovered that as many as 1,000 bacterial strains exist in each person, that everyone's microbiome (their collection of bacteria) is unique, and that disease-causing bacteria found in a human's microbiome not only don't cause illness, but they also co-exist peacefully. In short, bacteria isn't evil.

Jeff D. Leach, founder of the Human Food Project, wrote in the New York Times: "Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us."

So how can we refamiliarize ourselves with those microorganisms? According to Leach, the answer lies in reintroducing organisms found in plain old mud.

While you may not want to eat spoonfuls of mud, you could consider trading artificially shiny grocery store produce for veggies and fruit from the local farmer's market. And that dirt clinging to them? It's good for you, so don't be too quick to scrub it all off.

No comments: